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Early detection protection key to life-long sight

Early detection and protection key to life-long sight

Getting your eyes examined regularly by an optometrist is the key to preventing or reducing serious damage to the eye and blindness. Likewise, eye examinations screen for conditions related to eye health, for example, the earliest signs of undiagnosed diabetes can be detected as part of a routine eye examination.

The Royal Foundation for the Blind estimates that at least one fifth of blindness in New Zealand is preventable. The numbers of people threatened by blindness is expected to double in less than 30 years.

“Common causes of blindness in New Zealand, such as diabetes retinopathy or glaucoma, often do not have symptoms that are evident until permanent and irreversible damage has been done,” says Dianne McAteer, General Manager of Visique. “With regular eye examinations eye diseases and treatable conditions, whether felt by the person or not, can be dealt with early. Sight already lost often can not be restored – but most conditions can be managed.”

Optometrists recommend that eye examinations are carried out regularly. Most importantly:

If you’re over forty you should get your eyes examined at least every two years (or as recommended by your optometrist) Ensure your child has had an eye examination before reaching school-age. Vision problems can limit children’s ability to learn, read and play sport.

Wearing protective eye wear is also key to long term eye health.

“Just as New Zealanders screen their skin from harmful ultraviolet light, so should they protect their eyes,” said Dr Donald Klaassen, OPSM. “A good quality and well-fitted pair of sunglasses with lenses that cut out 100% of UV radiation outdoors are recommended for life-long eye health – to prevent cataracts and premature ageing of the eyes.” Preserving sight has been central to Lions’ volunteerism and fundraising activities worldwide, ever since 1925 when Helen Keller issued a challenge to Lions Clubs to become the “knights of the blind”. For the month of October, Lions members around the world are running sight-related activities to conquer preventable blindness and preserve sight.

Help Lions Clubs New Zealand, OPSM and Visique Optometrists mark Lions World Sight Day in New Zealand. Dig-out any unwanted eyeglasses and sunglasses and deliver them to your nearest OPSM store or Visique Optometrist between Monday 20th October and Sunday 26th October.

The glasses will be cleaned and graded at one of two Lions Clubs eyeglass recycling centres, and distributed to areas in New Zealand by Lions clubs and to the South Pacific by Voluntary Ophthalmic Services Overseas (VOSO), a New Zealand wide charity that provides eye examinations and surgery to South Pacific nations.

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